Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.

Chris is a native of rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was born in the upstairs bedroom of his grandmother's house, and grew up in a 230 year old log cabin in the woods. Chris traces his interest in journalism to his childhood, when his parents threatened to take away his newspaper if he didn’t do his chores.

In addition to working full time in public radio for the past decade, Chris has also reported from overseas on a free–lance basis. He's filed stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda. He lives in Salem with his wife and child.

Read Chris's blog, "Capitol Currents: Dispatches From Salem."

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Oregon Wolves
5:09 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Oregon House Approves Tax Credit For Livestock Lost To Wolves

Oregon Legislature is close to ending its session.
Photo credit: M.O. Stevens Wikimedia commons

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon ranchers who lose livestock to a wolf attack would be eligible for a tax credit under a measure approved Wednesday by the Oregon House. The bill would authorize a total of $37,000 in tax credits statewide each year.

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Ore. Legislature
5:42 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Oregon Lawmakers Approach Adjournment

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers are negotiating a way to wrap up business this week. They’re scheduled to adjourn on Wednesday. Some bills are passing, but major legislation remains bottled up in committee.

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Mental Health Care
6:28 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Prison Mental Health Unit Not Designed For Treatment

The Oregon Department of Corrections.
Photo by: Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon is putting the finishing touches on a gleaming new mental health hospital. The Salem facility replaces a crumbling 130-year-old building and is hailed as a new chapter in the state's troubled history of treating people judged guilty but insane. But there are far more mentally ill people in Oregon’s standard prisons. And the inmates with the most severe mental problems are housed in a ward designed for hardened criminals. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman found that facility isn’t designed for treatment.

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Kitzhaber Key Bills
4:55 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Kitzhaber Continues Public Pressure On Key Bills

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
Photo credit: Oregon Governors Office Oregon Governors Office

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is keeping up the public pressure on lawmakers to pass some of his major policy proposals this session. For the second day in a row, the Democrat held a state capitol press conference to urge the legislature to pass bills that have been stuck in committee.

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Governor Pressures Oregon Lawmakers
4:06 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

With Adjournment Looming, Kitzhaber Pushes Lawmakers

Governor John Kitzhaber speaks at a state capitol press conference.
Photo credit: Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – With less than a week to go in the legislative session, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is stepping up the pressure on lawmakers to act soon on his major policy proposals. At least one of his key initiatives gained final approval Thursday, but three more are stalled.

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School Mandates
5:34 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Lawmakers, Education Officials Seek "Mandate Relief"

Oregon schools may soon not have to follow all mandates.
Photo credit: Office of David Wu Wikimedia commons

SALEM, Ore. – If there's one catch-phrase that's popular in the Oregon capitol these days, it's "mandate relief." Specifically, the kind of mandates that apply to cash-strapped school districts. But as Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports, not everyone thinks it's a good idea to do away with the requirements.

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Free Speech
5:34 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Oregon Lawmakers Stiffen Penalties For Funeral Misconduct

The Oregon State Capitol Building in Salem, Oregon.
Photo credit: Wikimedia User Aboutmovies Wikimedia Commons

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers are trying to crack down on bad behavior at funerals. The state House voted Tuesday to increase the penalty to up to a year in jail for disorderly conduct within 200 feet of a funeral service.

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School Upgrades
3:52 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Lawmakers Approve Making School Seismic Ratings More Accessible

A map of the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
United States Geological Survey

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon parents who want to know if their child's school is strong enough to withstand a major earthquake could soon have a new way of finding out. The Oregon Senate voted unanimously Friday to require seismic ratings for all public schools in the state be posted online.

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Oregon Governor's Proposal
4:50 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Kitzhaber Counters Legislative Budget Deal

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
Photo credit: Oregon Governors Office Oregon Governors Office

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has a budget counter-offer to state lawmakers. The Democrat he says his plan would prevent a prison closure and some cuts to human services. His proposal Thursday would also tap reserve funds.

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Business
9:01 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Retirement Communities Find Niche With Gay Seniors

Michael Stotts (left) and Rod Dolan, together since 1977, settled at the Rose Villa retirement community in Portland, Ore.
Chris Lehman for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 7:53 am

When Pat Matthews turned 65, her declining health led her in search of a place that could offer increasing levels of care as she grew older.

And Matthews had one other requirement: She wanted to bring Carol Bosworth, her partner of nearly 20 years. At the very first place they visited, that was a problem.

"They didn't say we couldn't come. But they said that we would be best off if we were sisters," Matthews says. "We crossed them off our list, because that's not the way we want to live."

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